To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Genre is a fluid, performative concept, which involves the audience’s expectations as much as a set of preconceived rules and gestures to which a composer must comply in order to have produced a work that is in a recognisable genre. As Jeffrey Kallberg has written, genre is a ‘social phenomenon shared by composers and listeners alike’.1 It is how a generic term is used, within which contexts and traditions, and how it is perceived by composers and audiences, that gives genre meaning. Indeed, genre is ‘a communicative concept’. A ‘generic contract’ is developed between composer and listener, in which the composer uses some of the key characteristics associated with a genre and the listener agrees to interpret these conventions in a way ‘conditioned by the genre’.2 The knowledge that a listener is about to hear a symphony creates a number of expectations about the number and type of instruments involved, for example, how those instruments might be handled, the length of the work and number of movements, the types of forms used, even the setting in which the work should be performed and where in the world it may have been composed. Genre can inform the way the listener interprets associated norms and any deviations from those norms.
Liszt first visited Weimar in 1841 to give two concerts for the enjoyment of the ducal family. On this visit, he can scarcely have imagined that he would settle in the town full time for a whole decade and continue to be a frequent visitor for the rest of his life. In 1841, he was embarking on the most successful and lucrative years of his performing career. He was such a hit that the Grand Duke invited him to return the following year when he was offered the position of ‘Kapellmeister in Extraordinary Service’. For the next six years, Liszt returned to the town on an ad hoc basis, often conducting concerts to celebrate the birthdays of the Grand Ducal family.
The potential reach of composer biopics is undeniably broader than most other outlets for the historical discussion of music and musicians. Accordingly, biopics have a significant influence on the position of composers and their music in the popular imagination. Liszt appears in film more often than any other composer, from cameo roles to full-fledged biopics focusing solely on him. This chapter examines how the conventions and exigencies of film have shaped the way Liszt, his life and his music are presented.
For such a public figure who was clearly image-conscious, Liszt was surprisingly reticent when it came to biography. Unlike several of his closest friends, most obviously Berlioz and Wagner, he did not attempt to sum up his life for posterity in the form of memoirs, which undoubtedly would have been a best-seller had he written them. In many ways, his attitude to ‘life-writing’ was remarkably laissez-faire. He famously instructed his biographer Lina Ramann, ‘My biography is more to be invented rather than written after the fact’1 and largely maintained a hands-off approach as Ramann began work on the story of his life. This chapter attempts an overview of Liszt’s relationship with ‘life-writing’, beginning with his rare forays into autobiography, then his own experiments as a biographer and ending with a discussion of how biographers have depicted him from the nineteenth century until today.
Liszt in Context explores the political, social, philosophical and professional currents that surrounded Franz Liszt and illuminates the competing forces that influenced his music. Liszt was immersed in the religious, political and cultural debates of his day, and moved between institutions, places, and social circles with ease. All of this makes for a rich contextual tapestry against which Liszt composed some of the most iconic, popular, and also contentious music of the nineteenth century. His significance and astonishing reach cannot be over-stated, and his presence in nineteenth-century European culture, and his continuing influence into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, are overwhelming. The focus on context, reception, and legacy that this volume provides reveals the multifaceted nature of Liszt's impact during his lifetime and beyond.